The National Union of Journalists has criticised the competition authorities for taking no action over the closure of three weekly newspaper titles last week.
The NUJ says the closure decision has created a “monopoly” in Northants for Johnston Press, which owns the Northampton Chronicle and Echo and Northants Telegraph, and is calling on the Competition and Markets Authority to intervene.
The CMA carried out an investigation into the Local World deal at the time it went through, but decided to take no further action.
However the NUJ is calling for that decision to be reviewed in the light of the recent closures.
In a letter to the CMA, it says: “Closing these titles will diminish plurality and competition and damage the interests of readers and the wider public.
“The announcement about shutting the titles was made as a fait accompli. There has been no public consultation with stakeholders, businesses, readers or staff.
“The titles have not been put up for sale. No other potentially interested party has had the opportunity to come forward or bid. There has been no opportunity to review the impact of the decision on editorial and business plurality, competition, public interest and the democratic deficit.
“The closure creates a monopoly for Johnston Press in Northants. This will be the only outlet for local newspaper advertising in print and online.”
NUJ national organiser Laura Davison added: “The closure of these titles is a travesty. Trinity Mirror, and other publishers, will continue to act with impunity unless they are properly investigated by the organisations which are supposed to hold them to account.
“The Competition and Markets Authority should stop dragging its feet while titles continue to be allowed to shut down, dangerously diminishing plurality in our local media. It is just not good enough.”
A Trinity Mirror spokesperson said: “We took the difficult decision to close three free weekly titles in Luton, Milton Keynes and Northampton as part of a review of our portfolio, and after a full consultation with the staff affected.
“The print and advertising markets face ongoing challenges which all publishers must respond to. Nobody cares more about the long term health and sustainability of the regional media industry than us.
“In the Bedfordshire region we are not exiting the market. We are increasing the focus on Bedfordshire on Sunday, increasing its distribution into Luton, and broadening its online coverage.”